The US sanctioned a small pizzeria in Italy instead of a Venezuelan oil exporter
- On from US President Donald Trump's last day in office, he ordered that sanctions be imposed on those in the Venezuelan oil industry.
- In a case of mistaken identity, two Italian business owners had their companies blacklisted.
- The owners of a Verona pizzeria and a Sardinia graphic design studio have been removed from the sanctions list.
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The administration of former US President Donald Trump accidentally slapped sanctions on an Italian restaurant and a graphic design studio before the former president left office, The Guardian reported.
On Trump's last day of office, he ordered that sanctions be imposed on a network of Venezuelan oil firms and individuals associated with the state oil company - Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA).
This was part of a long-term economic embargo on Venezuela, intended to put an end to President Nicolas Maduro's regime.
However, an unfortunate mistake meant that two Italian business owners, who shared the same name as a man involved in the Venezuelan oil trade, had their businesses targeted in the crackdown.
Alessandro Bazzoni, the owner of a pizzeria in the Italian city of Verona, discovered that his business was placed on a US trade blacklist after visiting his local bank, The Guardian reported.
"When I heard that my current accounts had been blocked, I thought it was a joke," Bazzoni told Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera. "These are already difficult times for us restaurant owners, the last thing I needed was to have my accounts blocked."
Bazzoni told the newspaper that he has not received an apology. He said, however, that he is grateful for his name being removed from the sanctions list. "I thank the new American government for the efficiency with which it intervened," Bazzoni told Corriere della Sera.
Another Italian man, who is also called Alessandro Bazzoni, had his business targeted too. The US Department of the Treasury blacklisted his company, SeriGraphicLab, according to The Guardian.
The Sardinian business owner, who declined to offer comment, confirmed with the paper that his graphic design studio had been on a sanctions list.
The incidents were a case of mistaken identity. The US government was trying to target another Italian citizen who had been a "core facilitator" of a network designed to help PDVSA, The Washington Post reported.
On March 31, the US Treasury updated the "specially designated nationalist list" and removed those who were affected by the mix-up.
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